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Teach Children Basics of Food Safety

It’s easy to count the number of people who get sick each year with a foodborne illness one out of every six Americans.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that adds up to more than 48 million people. Of those, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 people die as a result of foodborne pathogens such as salmonella, listeria and E. coli. Those that are at the greatest risk include older adults, pregnant women and young children.
“Foodborne illnesses and deaths are preventable, and as such, unacceptable,” said FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, M.D. “We must do better by intensifying our efforts to implement measures that are prevention-oriented and science-based.”
Teaching the basics of food safety to children is not only important to their health, but it can also be fun and rewarding. Start with these prevention tips while empowering kids to keep a watchful eye on food safety practices at home.
Ask children to follow the “A-B-C” rule, which stands for “always be clean.” Here’s how:
Always have clean hands. Wash hands often with antibacterial soap and warm water for 20 seconds, or about as long as it takes to sing the A-B-C’s song. Wash hands both before and after handling food items in the kitchen.
Always use a clean cutting board. Consider cutting boards of different sizes and colors to keep raw meat, poultry or seafood completely separate from ready-to-eat foods such as fruits, vegetables, cheese or breads. Store cutting boards in a lower cabinet and teach the children to select the right color or shape for the job.
Always keep raw meat and fish wrapped and separated. Separate raw items when shopping to prevent them from touching foods such as fruit or salad items. Consider a separate grocery tote for raw items and wash it out thoroughly before re-use.  Store raw meats and seafood on a low shelf in the refrigerator to prevent an accidental drip on items below.
“Food poisoning can be easily prevented with practical steps, such as separating raw meats from ready-to-eat foods, and using [at least] two cutting boards, to stay safe in the kitchen,” said Ruth Frechman, a registered dietitian and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokeswoman. “Don’t confuse them, and always wash [cutting] boards thoroughly in hot, soapy water or in the dishwasher after each use,” Frechman says. “Discard old cutting boards that have cracks, crevices and excessive knife scars.”

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